review for Nowhere to Run on AllMovie

Nowhere to Run (1993)
by Brian J. Dillard review

It's hard to pinpoint the most gloriously ludicrous element of this Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller, which was directed by Robert Harmon (The Hitcher) and co-written by Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct). Maybe it's the improbable casting of offbeat urban pixie Rosanna Arquette as Clydie, a proud, kindly widow fighting to save her farm from greedy real-estate developers. Possibly, it's the fact that Clydie's kids have been saddled with the names Mookie (Kieran Culkin) and Bree (Tiffany Taubman) -- unlikely monikers that seem downright preposterous when applied to a pair of precocious urchins. Perhaps it's the script's attempt to manipulate heartstrings via poor, fatherless Mookie's paternal longing for Sam, Van Damme's escaped convict with a heart of gold. Probably, though, it's Van Damme's frequent semi-nudity and the script's resulting sexual anxiety. We get Sam looking at porno mags in his woodland hideout. We get Bree and Mookie stumbling on the naked Sam as he bathes in a lake. And ultimately, we get a frank discussion about the size of Sam's manly endowments between Clydie, the kids, and Sam himself -- all over a hearty breakfast. If this film had starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and made 100 million dollars at the box office, these varied facts could have provided the basis for many interesting theories about gender roles and the state of the American family in the 1990s. Given that Nowhere to Run is a far more modest production, however, its many idiosyncrasies serve only to distract attention from the fact that it's not a very good action movie.